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Super Bowl “Fever” to Afflict a Record 17.5 Million Americans on Monday

Let's think about it.

Because the Super Bowl is still on a Sunday, lots of people will be staying up later than usual on a work night to watch the 49ers play the Chiefs. That means that by the time the alarm goes off Monday morning, many will have arranged a day off. For others, the temptation to call in sick will be all too real, particularly in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Miami, the city hosting Super Bowl LIV.

But just how widespread is this phenomenon? According to the 2020 Super Bowl Fever survey, 17.5 million Americans will miss work the day after the big game, the largest number in the 16-year history of the survey.

The majority of them, 11.1 million, will use pre-approved time off, which is definitely the responsible thing to do. The less forthright among those missing work are among either the 1.5 million who will ghost their employers or the 4.7 million who will call in sick. An additional 7.9 million will make a game-time decision and decide to call in on Monday morning.

Far be it from us to encourage unethical behavior, but if you find yourself needing to take it easy on Monday, these tips can help you do so discretely.

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Don’t oversell it. You can try to sound a bit congested on the phone, but interjecting every other sentence with a cough risks exposing deficits in your acting. If you’re sending an email, don’t provide an exhaustive list of symptoms; just tell your boss what they need to know.

Stay away from email and Slack. This may seem obvious — and why would you work on a day off? — but it’s vital to just fall behind on a day’s worth of messages. You can set a vacation auto-responder saying that you’re sick, but after that you can’t do any work at your house after you’ve said you weren’t feeling well enough to work at the office.

Lay the groundwork on Friday. If you can comment offhand that you have a headache or haven’t been feeling well the day before Super Bowl weekend, you might be a bit more believable the day after. We are in the middle of cold and flu season, which helps bolster your case.

Follow up on Tuesday. Remember, you were sick. Bring some extra tissues and medicine. Let out a lingering cough or two. Drink tea throughout the day. Basically, you should do all the things someone recovering from a bug might do.

Don’t watch the game with your coworkers. It’s great that you’ve made friends on the job, but anyone you watch the game with on Sunday could be a co-conspirator if you come down with Super Bowl fever. Protect them and yourself by keeping your coworkers blissfully unaware of any chicanery.

Really think about it. Nine percent of survey respondents had been warned about missing work the Monday after the game. The same percentage knew someone who was disciplined or fired for it. So this isn’t a zero-risk proposition, but if you follow these tips it will be easier to maintain deniability so you can really enjoy the festivities on Sunday.